Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Question 1 Part 3

After breakfast we jumped back into the car to resume our long journey to Canada.

Having just completed my first semester of law school, I was eager as a bee to read a few books for sheer pleasure instead of having to slog through a lot of really boring texts. I opened my knapsack in the back seat and examined a few of my choices: Geek Love, a book Mindy gave me which chronicles the lives of a circus freak family (a must read for you, Bubs, if you haven't already); The Shipping News, which takes place in Newfoundland, but which I figured was close enough to Nova Scotia to suit the ambiance; and David Sedaris's anthology Barrel Fever which, because it contains the story of "The Santaland Diaries," is a customary holiday read for me.

"Would you guys like me to read aloud The Santaland Diaries as is my annual holiday tradition?" I asked.

"What is that?" they both replied.

"A story by David Sedaris. You've never heard of it?"

They both replied that they had not. So, I opened up my dog-eared volume of Sedaris's short essays and started in on his highly amusing tale of his experiences working as a Christmas elf at Macy's. I began to read aloud. "Working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand means being at the center of the excitement...."

George and Michael positively howled as I made my way through this hilarious story of Sedaris's elfly trials and tribulations which include everything from dealing with pox covered children, to enduring the abuse of an African-American mother who complained that the black Santa wasn't black enough, to assisting a little girl without a nose.

"Oh my god, that was hysterical!" George exclaimed when I was done. "You read that so well - you must have practiced it for years!"

"No, but I have heard him read it aloud many times on NPR. I can't believe you've done without it at Christmastime for so long," I replied. I think George smiled broadly for the remainder of our vacation.


It was a long trip that day as we drove all the way to Saint John, New Brunswick, where we found a roadside motel room to sleep in for the night. We unloaded our essentials and went in search of dinner.

"Do you think they have poutine in New Brunswick?"

"What is poutine?" George asked.

"You've never had a poutine?" I replied incredulously. "You're in for a real treat. It's basically a mound of french fries covered in gravy and then smothered under melted cheese. It's a Canadian specialty, or at least in Quebec. It's fabulous."

"I think I'm going to be sick," Michael said. He wasn't feeling well for most of the trip, which made him more than slightly cantankerous a lot of the time.

"Well, it sounds, um, interesting," George said, trying to be diplomatic.

The menu of the diner where we settled in for dinner sadly did not feature poutine, although they did have some other Canadian delicacy involving fried meat which I tried but was not impressed with. We were all tired anyway.

After dinner George got up to use the restroom, while Michael and I went out to warm up the car. Michael sat down behind the wheel and I went over to the passenger's side. My door was locked.

"Unlock the door please," I said.

"I'm trying to. I think it's stuck," he replied. I couldn't see what he was doing because it was very dark outside.

"Did you press the automatic 'unlock' button? I think it is supposed to unlock all four doors at once."


I was stunned. I knew Michael could be a crabby pants and that he wasn't feeling well, but this went well beyond the limit of acceptable behavior. Once the door finally opened I got into the back seat and just bit my tongue. I wasn't sure how to respond to his sudden upbraiding, as if there were any appropriate response at all, and besides, I saw George approaching and I didn't want to get into any kind of discussion in front of him.

Instead, I did the only reasonable thing which was to take out my passive-aggressive card and remain as silent as possible for the rest of the evening. When we got back to the motel, I promptly unpacked my sleeping attire, brushed my teeth and got into one of the three beds.

"Are you going to sleep now?" Michael and George both asked me.

"Yes, but you two can stay up and do whatever you want. You won't bother me." I closed my eyes and turned my back to them. I was majorly pissed.

The two of them sat up for a while and chatted. To add insult to injury, Michael just acted as normal as pie, as if he hadn't twenty minutes prior verbally abused me without so much as a whisper of an apology afterward. I felt it was going to be a long, long trip, and I dreaded whatever was to follow.


Anonymous said...

well hell, more, I want more

lulu said...

So this is what you were doing while I was sleeping. I thought you were watching Turner Movie Classics.

Dino aka Katy said...

okay this is like those TV shows where they cut of when it gets interesting ... come one what happened next

Beth said...

So lovely of you to introduce them to the beauty of a Sedaris Christmas.

BTW, love Geek Love!

Bubs said...

Thanks for the book recommendation--I haven't read, or even heard of it until just now!

Have you thought of starting another service, similar to your MTM gig? You could run it at the holidays, offering to call people in need of holiday cheer and read excerpts of Santaland Diaries to them.

chelene said...

Now I definitely have to read that book.

Tanya Espanya said...

That Michael lost his shit on you because there was no poutine.

Dale said...

Poutine is from baby Jesus. I wonder if the next installment will feature it.

This is quite an epic CP! And to have the joy of breaking David Sedaris to someone else - wonderful. Geek Love sounds cool too, I remember hearing about it and now I've heard of it again!

GrizzBabe said...

I bet Michael was jealous. Can't wait to find out for sure.

Jacy said...

The SantaLand Diaries might be the funniest short story ever -- then again, everything Sedaris writes is the funniest story story ever.

Doc said...

He just needed some of the greatist Canadian food ever, then he would have been o.k.


Flannery Alden said...

David Sedaris rocks!

...and so do you, CP.

Anonymous said...

This is your cousin Cathy. Wow, I guess I am missing out by only talking to Michael every few years! I didn't know he could blow his stack like that. I'm sorry he hurt your feelings.

I have heard The SantaLand Diaries many times on NPR too, and it is a funny story. I heard David Sedaris over the weekend on a repeat of This American Life, with a story about Americans riding the Paris metro and making rude remarks because they think he doesn't understand English. That one is a howler too.

Love to "Poor George" and you.

Jill said...

Poutine is a big thing in New-Brunswick too!! We have some here with chicken on it!!
I'm sad they didn't have the chance to taste it!!

BeckEye said...

Poutine sounds worse than Scrapple, and there's virtually nothing worse than Scrapple.

jewgirl said...

mary, I tagged you :)

The Freelance Cynic said...

I've never had these stories at christmas either...

Bubs said...

Scrapple is delicious.

Old Lady said...

I think scrapple is yankee chitlins. How'd we get on scrapple and poutine anyway. Sounds kinda x-rated if you ask me.

Well, hopefull installment 3 by the time I come back with some pickled pigs feet.

Grant Miller said...

One day when my daughter's are old enough, we will read our favorite passages from "Holidays on Ice" the way most families read "A Christmas Carol" or the Bible on Christmas Eve.